(Repeats to widen distribution)
* Uranium miner closes down 5.78 pct at C$27.73
* Shares down more than 23 percent since Friday
* Uranium One shares close down at C$3.46
By Julie Gordon
TORONTO, March 17 Shares of uranium producer
Cameco (CCO.TO) closed at a six-month low on Thursday due to
rising concerns over an earthquake-shattered nuclear power
plant in northeastern Japan, and as governments from Australia
to the United States advised citizens to leave the region.
Cameco's stock has plunged by more than 23 percent since
last Friday, falling almost 6 percent on Thursday, as concern
mounted over the long-term outlook for nuclear reactors and the
uranium that fuels them.
"No one wants to own that kind of stock today," said Baskin
Financial Services portfolio manager Barry Schwartz. He added:
"We think two years from now, a year from now, it will be a
Schwartz's firm has owned Cameco shares for years and he
said they have no intention of selling.
But other investors were less convinced. Shares of Cameco,
the world's No. 2 uranium producer, closed down 5.78 percent at
C$27.73 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Uranium One UUU.TO, which has fallen more than 43 percent
since Friday, closed down 1.7 percent at C$3.46, while Paladin
Energy (PDN.AX)(PDN.TO) ended up 1.54 percent at C$3.29.
In Sydney, shares of Rio Tinto-owned Energy Resources of
Australia (ERA.AX) closed down at A$7.80.
The uranium sector has come under increased pressure as
Japan fought to contain the crisis at the crippled Fukushima
nuclear power plant and as several countries advised their
citizens to leave the region.
Australia urged citizens with nonessential roles in Japan
to consider leaving Tokyo and the eight prefectures most
damaged by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, the United States chartered aircraft to help
Americans leave Japan and approved the voluntary departure of
about 600 family members of diplomatic staff.
Cameco has plans to double its uranium output by 2018 to
meet the growing demand for the nuclear fuel from countries
including China, India and Korea.
But China called into question its ambitious nuclear plans
on Wednesday, with the government freezing approvals on all new
reactors. The Asian nation has some 27 reactors under
construction and 50 in the planning stage, according to the
World Nuclear Association.
Japanese engineers were scrambling on Thursday to restore a
power cable to the crippled Fukushima plant in the hope of
restarting pumps desperately needed to pour cold water on
overheating fuel rods.
However, despite fears of a nuclear catastrophe, analysts
were quick to point out that once the immediate crisis is over,
the uranium markets will recover.
"With the confusion and uncertainty in the market relating
to uranium equities, we recommend investors focus on
well-financed producers with high quality assets and the
ability to weather depressed uranium prices," RBC Capital
Markets mining analyst Adam Schatzker said in a note.
He named Cameco, Uranium One and Paladin as good bets for
(Additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob